With Christmas well on its way, shops and retailers have already begun stocking their shelves.
While the festive season is meant to be a happy time, it can bring a lot of money-related stress and worry as the pressure to buy gifts, decorations, food and more piles up. Here are seven ways to help you save money this Christmas.
Make a budget and stick to it
One of the most important steps for saving money is making a plan and sticking to it. By making a realistic budget, you’ll know how much you need to save, how much you plan on spending and you can plan accordingly.
The Money Advice Service has a free online budget planner you can use to get you started, but even something as simple as a spreadsheet to track your spending will be useful.
Try your hand at DIY decorations
There are loads of ways you can make your own Christmas decorations at home, and it will give your decorations a more personal touch.
There are loads of YouTube tutorials about how to make your own decorations to guide you through the process. You can have a go at making things like paper snowflakes, salt dough ornaments and Christmas cards.
You should also save your decorations each year to reuse them.
Get an artificial Christmas tree
While real Christmas trees look great, the cost of buying one each year can really add up.
There are plenty of great looking artificial Christmas trees in a range of sizes and prices that you can choose from, and it means that throughout the year you can keep it in storage and then when the festive season rolls around you can get it out year after year.
Start shopping early
The closer we get to the big day, the more expensive items become.
By starting your shopping early, you can pick up some pre-Christmas bargains and avoid the last minute panic shopping that can see your budget get blown out.
Alternatively, if you’re not seeing family and friends until after Christmas, with Covid-19 guidelines permitting, you could even wait until the Boxing Day sales to do your shopping.
Take advantage of online sales
Throughout the year there are loads of exclusive online sales which could provide you the perfect opportunity to get some of your gift buying done.
For example, Black Friday and Cyber Monday at the end of November.
How to find the best prices
There’s nothing worse than finally buying an item and then the next day finding it for cheaper elsewhere.
There are a number of websites that let you compare prices online, like Price Runner.
Simply type in whatever product you’ve got your eye on and Price Runner will compare the prices for it across the internet, allowing you to find the best price and save your money.
You can also install internet extensions to help you find discount codes whilst doing your online shopping, such as the Google Chrome plug-in, Honey. When you go to checkout online, Honey will scour the internet for discount codes and automatically apply them to your purchase where applicable.
Introduce some new traditions
This Christmas is going to be very different given the circumstances regarding the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The fact that this Christmas will be completely different offers the perfect opportunity to introduce some new traditions.
Instead of buying gifts for every member of the family and all your friends, why not suggest doing something like Secret Santa? Or, alternatively, suggest giving homemade gifts, like baked goods.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister site The Scotsman